In a major upset, Democrat Mary Peltola defeated Republican Sarah Palin in August's special election for the U.S. House seat in Alaska, according to final results released Wednesday.
Alaska is now using a ranked-choice voting system, and while the election was held on Aug. 16, the second-choice counts weren't made until Wednesday. Peltola held a 9-point lead over Palin, the former governor of Alaska and 2008 GOP vice presidential nominee, in first-preference votes. She won the second round with 52 percent of the vote compared to Palin's 49 percent, Axios reports.
Peltola is now the first Native Alaskan elected to Congress, and the first Democrat to hold Alaska's lone House seat in nearly 50 years. Republican Don Young was first elected to the House in 1973 and remained in Congress until his death in March at age 88.
"I look forward to continuing Don Young's legacy of bipartisanship, serving all Alaskans and building support for Alaska's interests in D.C.," Peltola said in a statement. "We built a great deal of momentum in a short time. ... I plan to continue introducing myself to Alaskans and working to earn their trust."
This election determined who will finish out Young's term, which ends Jan. 3. Peltola, Palin, Republican Nick Begich, and libertarian Chris Bye are all in the running for the general election in November.